Use - When applied to material and property, use is engaging the asset or material into the business process for value.

Utilization - The documented use of materials or equipment in the business process compared to the planned use.

Proper Use of University Titled Equipment

University titled equipment should only be used in the performance of University duties.  Equipment may not be used by individuals, organizations, or faculty and staff members for personal use.

Proper Use of Equipment Governed by the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)/Uniform Guidance

Section 200.313 (c) of the CFR, also known as the Uniform Guidance, details proper use of equipment governed under these regulations.

Proper Use of Federally Titled Equipment

Personal use of federal equipment is prohibited.  Federal regulations incorporated into grants and contracts state that agency owned equipment should be usable, needed, and currently in use to support the appropriate grant or contract. Obsolete, unneeded, or unusable equipment should not sit idle for any extensive period of time.

When federal equipment is no longer needed or usable due to damage, loss, destruction, or deployment, notify Equipment Inventory's Federal Program Coordinator as soon as possible.  The Federal Program Coordinator will provide information on how the department's principal investigator, administrator, or designee might request disposition instructions from the agency, or try to relocate the equipment to another department on campus with written agency approval.  Written authority from the sponsoring agency must be received prior to the surplusing, movement, or disposition of government property.  It is a contractual commitment that federal equipment is in active use while in custody of a campus department and that disposal action is taken in a timely manner.

Use of Equipment at Home

University employees may use University titled equipment at home for University business as long as the equipment is properly tagged and a copy of the Property Activity Request - Form 1024 is filed in the department. Principal Investigators, directors, chairs, and executive heads do not need written authorization for valid use of equipment at home.

To indicate valid home use of equipment, update OASIS online or contact Equipment Inventory to assist with the update. To update OASIS, do the following:

  • Change the "building" field to reflect the county code in which the residence is located.  King County is code C17, Snohomish County is C31, and Pierce County is C27.  Refer to OASIS Building Help screen for master list or contact Equipment Inventory for other county codes.
  • Ensure the "wing" and "room number" fields are blank.
  • Update the "other location" field to "home".  To protect the employee's privacy, the actual home address should not be included on OASIS - it should be kept in the department's inventory files.

It is recommended that each University department develop a Home Equipment Agreement with  individuals who have equipment at home.  A Home Equipment Agreement template can be found on our Forms web page.

It is also recommended that each University department have a written policy addressing the insurance requirements of all items located either at an employee's home or in transit.  Departments may require that the employee's own homeowner's insurance cover theft or damage to such equipment.  Proof of insurance may be required.  The employee would be required to reimburse the University for the Homeowner's Insurance Claims collected on University titled equipment. Please see Risk Management's Equipment Insurance site for further details.  

Note:  If equipment is stolen while in your possession, at home, or from your office, a police report is required.

Use of Equipment away from the University

If it is necessary to remove equipment from the University's premises for more than six months (extended field work, overseas research, etc.), it is recommended that the equipment location be updated in OASIS, or via a Property Activity Request - Form 1024.

Unless OASIS is updated with the new location, each department must have an internal policy and/or procedure documenting the location of the equipment leaving the University.  It is recommended that each department maintain an equipment tracking log or shipping manifest indicating the location, departure, and expected return date, equipment description, serial and equipment tag number, and name of the individual responsible for the equipment.

Personal Use of Equipment

University equipment is to be used to support its teaching, research, and administrative functions.  University employees may not use state resources (including equipment) for their private benefit or gain, or the private benefit or gain of any other person.  Occasional limited use of University equipment, including email, is permitted for other than official state job purposes only if all five of the following criteria are met:

  1. There is little or no cost to the state (de minimis).
  2. The use of state resources does not interfere with the performance of the employee's official duties.
  3. The use is brief in duration and accumulation.
  4. The use does not compromise the security or integrity of state information or software.
  5. The use promotes organizational effectiveness or the activities improve the work-related job skills of the employee.

Certain personal uses of university equipment are permissible such as the use of University equipment by an employee to write his or her own theses outside of normal work hours.  Personal use should be approved in advance by the immediate supervisor and must meet all three of the following criteria:

  1. There is little or no cost to the state (de minimis).
  2. The use of state resources does not interfere with the performance of the employee's official duties.
  3. The University must find some public benefit, either direct or indirect, in addition to any private benefit to the employee.

The University does possess unique equipment which, by their very nature, should be available to private businesses for testing or examining proprietary products.  When such situations arise, approval for the usage must be approved through normal departmental processes.  The fair rental value of the facilities and equipment requested, including equipment costs and University overhead, must be established by the dean or vice president and paid in advance.University equipment may not be used for the following purposes:

  • Conducting an outside business.
  • Supporting, promoting, or soliciting for an outside organization or group unless otherwise provided by law.
  • Political campaigning.
  • Commercial purposes such as advertising or selling.
  • Illegal activities.

Loaned Equipment

When equipment is loaned to or borrowed by the University for official use, all arrangements should be approved in writing by the appropriate authority (department, chair, director) in the using department.  If the owner requires the University to provide insurance for damage to or loss of loaned or borrowed equipment, the Office of Risk Management should be contacted in sufficient time to review the possible insurance needs and to acquire any necessary insurance.  

Equipment furnished or loaned to the University from the federal government for periods extending longer than six months and costing $5,000 or more must be tagged and inventoried in OASIS upon receipt.  Items received costing less than $5,000 should be monitored and accounted for separately by the receiving department.  Equipment Inventory can supply each department with "federally owned" tag to be affixed next the state of equipment tag applied by University departments.  Please see Equipment Tagging for more information.

Departments must retain file copies of the loan agreements. Please see Equipment Acquisition - Loan for more detailed information.

Shared Equipment

Scientific equipment should be made available for sharing by multiple University departments if it is not fully utilized by the responsible department.  The terms of all shared-use arrangements, including utilization schedules, are to be agreed upon in advance by the departments and/or individuals involved.  The shared use of equipment should not interfere with the original research project.

  • Federally Funded Equipment - The federal government encourages sharing when it does not interfere with the original purpose of the grant or contract.  The permission of the contracting officer is required.  Rental fees may not be charged to a department or budget for the shared use of any University owned equipment acquired with federal funds.  However, reasonable maintenance, repair, calibration, or other costs directly related to the shared use may be passed on.
  • Usage Guidelines - During the period of a grant or contract, the principal investigator determines the utilization of equipment acquired.  After the grant or contract has expired, the department chair may suggest a use which will be beneficial to the overall departmental program, or the dean may recommend college or school utilization priorities for the equipment.  Federal agencies retain the authority to define the use and transfer status of federally owned equipment.  Federally owned equipment is to be used for those purposes authorized in the related grant or contact or as authorized in writing by the contracting officer.

Personally Owned Equipment on University Premises

Faculty and staff members who keep items of personal equipment at University facilities should label those items to indicate personal ownership.  The University does not purchase property insurance to protect employee or student owned belongings and will not compensate the owner for loss or damage.  The only exception to this policy is where the property is used in the normal course of job performance and the loss is clearly due to University negligence.

Utilization of Government Titled Property

University departments may only use government property for the use that is described in the grant or contract and should maintain a screening process to determine the equipment and/or materials are being used for their intended purpose.  

If the department identifies excess equipment, idle equipment, or equipment that is no longer needed, it should be reported to Equipment Inventory's Federal Program Coordinator (eio@uw.edu).  The Federal Program Coordinator will work with the sponsoring agency for disposition or title of the equipment.  If the University receives relief of accountability, then the equipment may be used for non contractual purposes or on another grant or contract.


Home Equipment Agreement

Property Activity Request - Form 1024

Optional - UW Equipment Information Form


Last updated 25 February 2019